In my last post, I started my list of the Top 10 Mets’ 2018 moments. For this post, I’m going to finish the list. We’re going to get down to the real good stuff that surely put a smile on all of our faces. Without further ado, let’s get it going.
4. Jacob deGrom’s complete game against the Phillies
Jacob deGrom’s journey to become the NL Cy Young winner would face some tough competition in the form of the Phillies and one of their aces, Jake Arrieta. As the season was winding to a close in mid-August, Jacob deGrom and the Mets would head to Philadelphia for what would surely be a great pitching contest. Both guys were pitching fantastic games with Arrieta only giving up 4 hits and 1 run through his 6 innings of work but deGrom was dealing on a whole different level. As the game went on, it was becoming more and more likely that deGrom might get the nod to finish the game himself. His offense would give him an early lead in the 4th inning on a Flores single and they’d give him some insurance runs in the top of the 7th with a Mesoraco homerun and a Jeff McNeil triple. With a 3-run lead and 7 strikeouts, deGrom would go back out for the bottom of the 7th where the Phillies would scratch their only run of the game due to an error by deGrom who was covering 1st base but couldn’t scoop the ball to get the out. It went down as an unearned run and kept deGrom’s ERA low as he continued his pursuit of the prestigious Cy Young award. With 99 pitches on the day, deGrom came back out to pitch the bottom of the 9th. He allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Santana, but it was quickly erased on a double play by Wilson Ramos. With only 1 out left to get, deGrom got Nick Williams to groundout and end the game. It only took deGrom 108 pitches to throw his 1st (and only) Complete Game of the season. It was a dominant performance by deGrom as he and the Mets bested the Phillies in what would eventually be an 11-8 season split against the two teams. Jacob deGrom furthered his case for being a serious Cy Young candidate and was able to gather his 8th win of the season. In a year that the Mets were clearly not going to make it to the postseason, Jacob deGrom kept us all on our feet and gave us something to applaud anytime he took the mound, and this was no different.
3. Brandon Nimmo’s big day in Colorado
The Mets would take their travels to Colorado in the middle of June to face the Rockies. Both teams were starting to falter in their divisions with the Mets 10 games behind and 7 games under .500 and the Rockies 4 games under .500 and 6 games back in the NL West. But it was a Jacob deGrom start which meant there was a feeling of excitement in the air. Not allowing a rain delay to stop him, he was hoping his team would give him some runs and help him get to his 5th win of the season. And they definitely delivered the runs for him. Brandon Nimmo was the star of the show but the team as a whole pulled through and helped their ace get another win in his column as he continued to dominate. The biggest moment of the game came in the very first at-bat when Brandon Nimmo put the Mets on the board with an Inside-The-Park Home Run. With his friends and family in the stands watching the game, he fouled off a couple of Tyler Anderson’s pitches before he launched a ball to deep right field and off the fence. The ball rolled past Gonzalez and by the time Blackmon retrieved it, Nimmo was already rounding 3rd and he touched home before the ball even got to the catcher. It took Nimmo only 14.70 seconds to round the bases, which at the time was the 5th fastest time that statcast had recorded since it was introduced 3 years prior. Brandon Nimmo had been winning the hearts of Mets’ fans all season long and this was just another spectacular moment by the young outfielder. But the game was just getting started and Brandon Nimmo wasn’t done yet. He hit a single during his 3rd at-bat and would hit a home run to lead off the 7th inning and put the Mets up by another run. His 3rd hit of the day and 2nd home run. Nimmo would also score the last 2 runs of the game with a single to plate Rosario and Reyes and give the Mets their 12th run of the game and 6th of the 9th inning. Like I said before, Brandon Nimmo was definitely the star of the game, but everybody played their part and it was one of the best games to watch all season.
2. Jacob deGrom’s Final Start and 1000th Career Strikeout
There have been a lot of Jacob deGrom moments in this list and really, are you surprised? He was dominant all season long and made sure to end the season with that same kind of dominance. Facing the Atlanta Braves who had been a thorn in the side of the Mets all year long, deGrom was looking to accomplish a few things. 1. Get a win to give him a winning record on the season, 2. Lower his ERA even more to help further his Cy Young case and 3. Get his 1000th career strikeout. It was really a storybook ending to what had been an unreal season for Jacob. He entered the game with 990 strikeouts in his career to that point and was damn sure going to get those last 10 before the game was over. Trouble was brewing from the very start with eventual NL Rookie of the year, Ronald Acuna hitting a leadoff single and stealing 2nd base off of deGrom. Thankfully he was stranded after deGrom worked around him with a few groundouts and a flyball. Greeted with another single to lead off the 2nd inning, deGrom got his 1st strikeout of the game to get the 1st out and a double play to end the inning and putting him within only 9 strikeouts of his illustrious 1000th. Getting 2 more strikeouts to lead off the 3rd, deGrom was carving them up at the plate as he kept them off the board and looked to be in his normal, dominant fashion. He got another pair of strikeouts to lead off the 5th and it was looking more and more likely like he’d be achieving that goal. With his team getting him the lead in the 6th, there was only 2 things left for deGrom to do. Keep the runs off the board and strikeout 3 more guys. He got one of the 3 strikeouts in the top of the 7th and when he returned to the mound for the 8th inning, the crowd was electric. With his pitch count getting close to 100, he needed to get these last 2 strikeouts this inning. With one out from a groundout, deGrom faced Tyler Flowers and struck him out looking on a 2-2 count, 96 mph fastball. Facing the young and dangerous Ozzie Albies with 2 outs and a pitch count getting higher and higher, deGrom would get the count full at 3 and 2 before catching Albies looking with a 92-mph slider. The crowd erupted, deGrom was pumped up and everyone in attendance knew that they just watched a dominant start by the almost certain NL Cy Young Award winner. It was a beautiful display of masterful pitching. deGrom threw 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 2 hits, no walks and chalking up 10 strikeouts in the process. Seth Lugo would come on to collect the save and deGrom got his 10th win of the season and lowered his ERA to an even 1.70. All 3 things were accomplished in one dominant start.
1. David Wright Day
It couldn’t be anything else, could it? David Wright day was truly one of the most special
days in Mets’ history. When it was announced that David Wright would be making the final start of his career on September 29th, fans of all ages were heartbroken. David had been trying to fight back from a herniated disk in his neck since 2016 and had finally been cleared to resume baseball activities in June of 2018. After some time in the minor leagues on rehab assignments, David and the Wilpons scheduled a press conference in September to address Wright’s future. It was during that conference that David revealed he would be retiring from baseball. After years of surgeries and fighting back from the initial spinal stenosis that plagued him in 2015, the doctors told David that there would be no improvement from how he felt at the moment and he made the decision to end his career now before he put his health at any more risk. It was a respectable and commendable decision by David, but it was one that broke the hearts of all Mets’ fans. David Wright was called on as a pinch hitter on September 28th but grounded out in his only at-bat. But the reception he got from the crowd made the result of the at-bat insignificant. It wasn’t about the game, it was about the love and admiration the fans had for him. That same feeling carried over into September 29th as David Wright made his 1st start since 2016. The sold-out Citi Field cheered for everything David did that day. They cheered anytime he took a swing during batting practice, he signed autographs for a lengthy period of time. And from the moment his daughter threw out the ceremonial first pitch alongside her mother, grandparents and father who was catching the ball the crowd was respectful and the emotion was felt throughout. In his 1st at bat of the game, Wright drew a 1-out walk. During his first chance playing the field, he threw out Holaday as the crowd once again, went wild. During his next at-bat, Wright hit a ball into foul territory which was caught by Peter O’Brien. The plan from the start was for David to have 2 at-bats and then be taken out of the game. He took the field and threw the ball around with Jose Reyes who he’d spent most of his career playing with, the 2 of them had started 860 games together through their career. When Mickey Callaway came to talk to the umpire with the lineup in hand, the crowd knew that it was time. David walked around the field saluting the fans and shaking hands with the umpires and his teammates. The fans and the Marlin’s dugout both gave David a well-deserved standing ovation as he went down a line of every person in a Mets’ uniform that night shaking their hands and hugging them all. As he came up for one final curtain call, Gary Cohen couldn’t help but get emotional on commentary. A kid who grew up a Mets’ fan, and spent his entire career playing for the Mets had played his final game as a Met and it was truly a surreal moment. The captain had left the field, but he was still in the stadium. He’d make his way to the commentary booth to talk to Gary Cohen and former team captain, Keith Hernandez. He made his way over to the radio booth before sticking around in the dugout for the game to end. The game would remain scoreless until the bottom of the 13th inning when Austin Jackson would hit a walk off single to end the 4-hour game and give the Mets the win on David Wright night. The crowd was still packed to the brim as David gave a speech to the Mets’ faithful. It was truly an amazing ending to one of the most emotional days in Mets’ history. David Wright was staple of the Mets’ organization since he made his MLB debut in 2004. He delivered some of the greatest moments in Mets’ history, from helping them get to the Postseason in 2006, to hitting his first ever World Series home run in 2015. What David Wright brought to the Mets will likely remain unmatched for a very long time. An absolutely polarizing figure that everyone couldn’t help but love, David Wright gave everything he had to the Mets and the fans and David Wright Day was a thank you from not just the Mets’ organization but everyone the fans who had the pleasure of seeing him play a baseball game. He’s now part of the Mets’ front office which is a great fit for him, he’s been too instrumental to the Mets to just fade away and not be seen around. So, one last time: Thank You David.
And that’s it, that’s my list of the Top 10 Mets’ 2018 moments. For a season that was considered a loss, there were plenty of memorable moments for the fans and the team. Thanks in part to the young talent like Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil, the dominant pitching by Syndergaard, Wheeler and deGrom, and the veterans like David Wright. It was a season that statistically might go down as a loss, it’s a season many of us will never forget. Thank you for taking the time to read this and feel free to share your Top 10 moments! Until next time, Let’s Go Mets!